Will You Be 3D Printing Your Christmas Presents?

Stuart Heritage at the Guardian tried doing just that and does not recommend it:

The thrill of watching something being created from nothing had been replaced by annoyance at the six noisy hours it took to make something that I could have realistically paid less than a pound for. I tried to make a few more things – a sort of Christmas tree thing, a malformed Smurf whose leg snapped off – but my heart wasn’t in it. Nor was the printer’s. By the end I couldn’t even convince it to acknowledge the existence of plastic. It would freeze up without warning, or play dumb and bleep whenever I tried to do anything. I unplugged it and plugged it in again. It was no use. We had reached an embittered impasse. Not that I was too fussed. I’m sure the Sistine Chapel was knocked off in less time than it took me to make that poxy Smurf.

I tried my best, but I failed. I made nine things, tops, with a £1,600 printer. For Christmas this year, everyone I know is getting a trinket that looks like I bought it in a panic at a jumble sale for 10p. That’s £177 per trinket. They’d better be grateful.

I know 3D printing is exciting and the future and all that but at this point I am with Stuart Heritage. It’s like, Cool, you made a tiny plastic skull. Great, put it on the shelf next to your tiny plastic dog and your plastic coaster and your plastic flower and your plastic cube. Now run your hand along the shelf and sweep everything on that shelf into the trash can. Perfect.

Photo: Creative Tools

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12 Comments / Post A Comment

ATF (#4,229)

My boyfriend is an engineer and he uses 3D printers at work to mold parts for prototypes. All the hullabaloo around 3D printers has resulted in nonstop eye rolling from him. They’re not easy to use unless you’re a professional and they’re not very practical. It’s kind of like we’re in the late 70s/early 80s of computer technology with them. In another decade things will probably be quite different but at the moment the buzz is a bit ahead of the present capabilities of the technology.

wrappedupinbooks (#1,426)

ugh my friend who works in marketing is OBSESSED with 3-D printing and it is so annoying. Please tell more how you can use it to sell more things! /death stare

liznieve (#37)

@wrappedupinbooks
yeah, clearly that person has no idea what they’re talking about. what are they 3d printing?!?!

wrappedupinbooks (#1,426)

@liznieve well, she markets tobacco products, so she’s not really planning on printing anything just yet. She is just really into the concept and it as ~*~the way of teh futurez~*~. She seems to think that we will be 3-D printing food soon. And she has some idea about like a licensing scheme, where you pick your gizmo out, and then your 3-D printer gets sent instructions on how to make it. And then presto! Your gizmo gets assembled right there in your living room. Sure, maybe someday this will all be possible. But for now? The Amazon drones are more likely than any of that nonsense.

liznieve (#37)

i’m an architect, and I am really eye-roll-y about the whole 3D printing thing. Even for models, it just makes no sense. It’s cheaper, and better, to pay an intern to carefully xacto all that facade detail rather than pay upwards of a couple hundred bucks per cubic inch (!) to 3D print. And 3D printing for now has almost 0 application in real-world construction. So. Pffffffft. (for what it’s worth, CNC routing is way cooler / more practical).

Lyesmith (#4,385)

Cory Doctorow would be so disappointed.

Meaghano (#529)

@Lyesmith ssssh

sony_b (#225)

While I agree that most of that stuff is pointless and just really nerdfun at this point, my nerdy husband designed my engagement ring and had it 3D printed. It is awesome, personal, and sooooo much less expensive than it would have been to buy something from the jewelry store.

Meaghano (#529)

@sony_b aww ok FINE that is pretty great :)

clo (#4,196)

I think it would be cool for medical stuff like on Grey’s Anatomy that would be perfectly customized to the patient’s body. It definitely needs to be faster, cheaper, and in other materials besides that ceramic type stuff and plastic.

e (#734)

Home laser cutter is where it’s at man. That’s what I want!

Beaks (#3,488)

@e They keep getting cheaper- at this point it’s really only a matter of time before I have one in my house…(I mean, that time range might be, like, a decade or so, but I see one in my future…)

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